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ERIC Number: EJ982666
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 31
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 56
ISSN: ISSN-0737-0008
Representational Translation with Concrete Models in Organic Chemistry
Stull, Andrew T.; Hegarty, Mary; Dixon, Bonnie; Stieff, Mike
Cognition and Instruction, v30 n4 p404-434 2012
In representation-rich domains such as organic chemistry, students must be facile and accurate when translating between different 2D representations, such as diagrams. We hypothesized that translating between organic chemistry diagrams would be more accurate when concrete models were used because difficult mental processes could be augmented by external actions on the models. In three studies, the task was to translate between different diagrams of molecules with or without a model. The model groups outperformed control groups, and students who received and used models outperformed those who received but did not use models. Uses of the model suggested that participants were performing external actions to support or replace difficult mental spatial processes. Spatial ability was a much weaker predictor of performance than model use. Results suggest that concrete molecular models can be an effective learning tool but some students need direct instruction to be able to take advantage of models. (Contains 4 footnotes, 5 tables, and 2 figures.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A